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Dublin Port

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Dublin Port is a major port positioned close to the centre of Dublin, responsible for exporting about half of Ireland's GDP. It was historically responsible for a lot of freight traffic entering the streets of Dublin, but now it is connected to the Dublin Port Tunnel, things have improved considerably.


The main access to the port is along Promenade Road. Tolka Quay Road is the old entrance, and the main dual carriageway running through the port site. Alexandra Road now mainly serves the industrial areas, but it still stands out for its unusual feature of having an active goods-only railway line running down the middle.

The port serves numerous commercial docks, but there are three passenger terminals in the complex. Terminal 1 is for Irish Ferries to Holyhead and Cherbourg, and the Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company to Douglas. Terminal 2 is for Stena Line, to Holyhead. Terminal is 3 for P&O to Liverpool (Bootle). Terminals 1 and 2 are found at the southeastern edge of the port, and are accessed via Promenade Road. Terminal 1 also includes a dedicated gangway for foot passengers. Two bus services, 53 and 853, stop at both these terminals and form a public transport connection with the city centre. Terminal 3 is a poorer relation, with its entry and exit being direct from East Wall Road southbound only, which can cause congestion when a ship unloads. There are no foot passenger facilities at this terminal; only motor vehicles are supported.

In terms of transport, the roads through the port are unclassified, and there is only one named junction: the Swept Bend Roundabout on Tolka Quay Road was built in 2019 in the existing road space. It's named after the shape of the previous road layout, a priority junction that was built in 2006 to provide access to the tunnel. The road layout was changed as part of a massive reconstruction of the port layout, partly in anticipation of Brexit issues. The turning for Alexandra Road was moved to the Swept Bend, and amongst other things, a new road was built around the waterfront.

The East-Link Bridge was built on the port's land to improve the traffic flow in the area. Dublin Port is now planning a second bridge to replace this, for their own internal use.

Traffic Management

The Port's congestion management plan was overhauled throughout 2020, to address fears that the UK leaving the EU could disrupt exports. New customs facilities were provided, a new exit route was built, a new flyover was built for internal use, and road signs outside the port were updated. The various highway authorities and media were briefed on new arrangements for what would happen if those measures turned out to be insufficient. In summary, this involved:

  • A new facility was built to allow traffic leaving the tunnel to be turned back.
  • New bollards were put in place to make it easier to close the entrance to the port.
  • If queues for the port were blocking the exit from the tunnel, then traffic entering the tunnel would be instructed to wait (as has always been the policy).
  • A number of new VMS signs, both permanent and temporary, were placed along the approach to the tunnel, to warn when there is stationary traffic ahead.
  • Once the traffic has stretched back far enough, the VMS switches to advising traffic for Dublin Port to keep right (for the tunnel), and all other vehicles to keep left (to stay away from the tunnel).
  • Bollards were placed along the M1/M50 merge to make it easier for staff to manage the merging traffic manually. These staff would again wave through non-port traffic, while holding back HGVs bound for the port.
  • The new AMIs, installed on the M50 to allow VSL, would be used to advise HGVs heading to Dublin Port not to use the flyover, but to use the old roundabout instead. This makes it easier to keep the flyover flowing.
  • Under the original plan, the Dublin Airport Long Stay car park was designated the official holding facility. HGVs would be instructed to check in here before joining the main queue, and any HGVs which didn't do this would have to use the turn-around facility built at the end of the tunnel.

Fortunately, as of 2022, the traffic management plan hasn't been needed for customs reasons. However the majority of the steps were implemented in December 2021, when protests disrupted the flow of traffic in the port. Only the last step wasn't implemented, as this appears to be an emergency arrangement agreed for January 2021 only.


Route To Notes


Tollan Dola/TOLLED TUNNEL, Aerfort/AIRPORT (M1), Beal Feirste/BELFAST





(M50, M1), Airport East Wall Road; toll-free alternative to the tunnel.


(M50), (N11), Dumhach Thrá/SANDYMOUNT, Dun Laoghaire






unsigned, uses M50












Official Site

BBC News


Day in the Life of Dublin Port - Part 1

Part one of this documentary gives a unique behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Ireland's largest port

Watch video > >

Day in the Life of Dublin Port - Part 2

Part one of this documentary gives a unique behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of Ireland's largest port

Watch video > >

Dublin Port
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Port Tunnel closure flyover.jpgNorth Wall Quay Dublin 1 - Coppermine - 5341.JPGNorth Wall Quay, Dublin 1 - Coppermine - 5338.JPGDublin Port old road signs.jpgDublin Port sign on North Wall Quay.jpg
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